Trigger: Youve Gained Some Weight
We know excess body weight isnt healthy for us, and we know its not easy or simple to lose weight especially when you have a disease like RA that can make it challenging to exercise or have the energy to prepare healthy meals. But its important to know about this connection between weight and RA. Multiple studies, including a 2019 study published in the journal Advances in Rheumatology, have found that RA patients who are overweight have worse outcomes than those with a healthy body mass index, and are less likely to achieve sustained remission. Fat tissue releases proteins called cytokines, which cause inflammation in the body, Caroline A. Andrews, MD, medical weight management specialist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City previously told CreakyJoints. Extra body weight can also put extra stress on weight-bearing joints, which can also exacerbate inflammation.
The good news is that you dont have to lose a ton of weight to see a difference in your RA symptoms. A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Clinical Rheumatology evaluated the association between weight loss and RA disease activity. Researchers found that overweight people who lost 11 pounds were three times as likely to see disease activity improvement compared to those who lost less. Here are some weight loss tips that may be especially helpful to people with inflammatory arthritis like RA.
Updated on: // by RA Pain Management
In The Kitchen With Arthritis: Foods To Avoid
The goal of an anti-inflammatory diet for arthritis is to reduce inflammation and the joint degeneration and pain it causes.What Are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
You can influence inflammation by eating anti-inflammatory foods, such as leafy greens and colorful vegetables, and avoiding these 7 inflammatory foods:
Ra Pain: What Is The Best Pain Relief For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that can cause severe and debilitating symptoms for patients of many ages. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available today to help control the disease and reduce inflammation, which is the primary cause of pain.
One of the most important aspects of treatment is rheumatoid arthritis pain management. For patients who suffer from chronic pain or frequent flare-ups, knowing how to manage pain on an ongoing basis and as needed is an important part of improving quality of life.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet Exercise Therapy Home Remedies And Alternative Medicine
Foods to avoid with RA
There is no special RA diet or dietcure for rheumatoid arthritis. One hundred years ago, it was touted that night-shade foods, such as tomatoes, would aggravate rheumatoid arthritis. This is no longer accepted as true. There are no specific foods or food groups that should be universally avoided by individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
There is no evidence that gluten bothers rheumatoid arthritis. Nevertheless, for those who are definitely sensitive to gluten , the gluten-free diet can prevent poor intestinal absorption of important nutrients. Bowel inflammation can be detrimental for those with RA if they become deficient in nutrients, such as vitamin D and folate.
Foods that fight RA inflammation
Nevertheless, some home remedies may be helpful, although these are not considered as potent or effective as disease-modifying drugs. Fish oils, such as in salmon, and omega-3 fatty acidssupplements have been shown to be beneficial in some short-term studies in rheumatoid arthritis. This suggests that there may be benefits by adding more fish to the diet, such as in the popular Mediterranean diet. The anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin in dietary turmeric, an ingredient in curry, may be beneficial in reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Supplements for RA
Focusing On Negativity And Pessimism
Simply put, it takes a positive attitude, rather than a negative or pessimistic one, to achieve positive results. It is logical that you need a positive approach to stay on track with your treatment regimen, exercise routine, diet, and more. You must believe in the goal. In a study published in December 2018 in The Clinical Journal of Pain, researchers found that optimism and mental resilience were associated with less pain severity in people with or at risk for knee osteoarthritis.
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What Other Risk Factors May Increase Your Likelihood Of Experiencing Ra
* Gender: Women are much more likely to suffer from this autoimmune disorder.* Weight: Overweight individuals are more prone to developing RA.* Smoking: If you smoke, you are more likely to develop RA, and if you develop it, your symptoms may be more pronounced than those who do not smoke.* Age: RA is more likely to hit you in middle age * Environment: Certain environmental exposures have been found to elevate your risk of RA, including exposure to asbestos and silica.
Citrus Fruits Cause Inflammation
Some people believe that they should avoid citrus fruits because the acidity is inflammatory. However, this is not the case. In fact, citrus fruits have anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as being rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Grapefruit juice can, however, interact with some medicines that doctors use to treat arthritis. People who are undergoing treatment should check with a doctor before incorporating it into their diet.
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Can My Diet Affect Medication
Its important that you take any medication youve been given as youve been told to by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Some drugs need to be taken in a specific way, such as before or after food, or with water you should be told about this, but the information leaflet included with your medication will also explain this, so make sure to read this carefully.
Taking certain drugs with food or after youve eaten can help to reduce the risk of certain side effects such as indigestion, stomach ulcers, feeling sick or vomiting. It can also help your body to absorb the drug properly and can make sure its not washed away by food or drink, for example if you use mouthwashes or gels.
Trigger: Youve Stopped Exercising
When you have joint pain, you may be inclined to skip your usual evening walk or sit on the side of the pool instead of swimming laps. After all, being active when youre already in pain can only make your joints hurt more and worsen your symptoms, right? Wrong. Staying active is a key part of an effective rheumatoid arthritis treatment plan. When paired with pharmacological and physical therapies, exercise has been shown to alleviate RA symptoms by helping to ease inflammation, improve physical function, and reduce joint damage, according to research published in the journal Expert Review of Clinical Immunology.
Regular exercise can help boost your strength and flexibility. Stronger muscles help support your joints, and improved flexibility can lead to better day-to-day function.
Another benefit: Weight-bearing exercise can help prevent osteoporosis, or a loss of bone density, which can result from rheumatoid arthritis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Plus, people with arthritis who exercise regularly also have more energy, improved mood, and better sleep.
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Diclofenac Sodium Topical Gel
Voltaren gel 1% is an NSAID for topical use. This means you rub it on your skin. Its approved to treat joint pain, including in your hands and knees.
This drug causes similar side effects to oral NSAIDs. However, only about 4 percent of this drug is absorbed into your body. This means you may be less likely to have side effects.
Are Drug Interactions A Concern
According to WebMD, in most cases, you dont need to be worried about drug interactions when taking hydroxychloroquine. It has only a mild effect on the immune system, but you should still tell your doctors what you are taking. Even if you only take over-the-counter medications, let them know so they can help you make sure you wont have an adverse reaction. You also want your medications to be effective, so being sure youre taking them correctly and not mixing anything together that could be a problem is important. Hydroxychloroquine can be a great choice to reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms when taken correctly.
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Articles On How To Treat Ra Pain
Treatment usually includes medications, occupational or physical therapy, and exercise. Some people need surgery to correct joint damage. Early treatment is key to good results. And with todayâs treatments, joint damage can often be slowed or stopped.
Best Vegetables For Arthritis
Going green and yellow and orange could be benefit your joints.
When you have arthritis, the produce section is one of the most important stops you can make in the grocery store. Vegetables are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that protect against cell damage and lower inflammation throughout the body, including in your joints. When choosing vegetables, remember the more color the better, and variety is key.
Heres a guide to some of the vegetables that should color your plate every day.
Learn more about managing arthritis pain through nutrition and track your progress by downloading the free Vim app.
Get Expert Advice
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Questions For Your Doctor
- How do I know if my joint pain is caused by rheumatoid arthritis?
- Does RA run in families?
- What medicines would work best for me, and what are the side effects?
- Is there anything I can do to prevent flare-ups of RA?
- What are the pros and cons of surgery to treat RA?
- Does RA affect my life expectancy?
What Are The Complications Of Ra
Rheumatoid arthritis has many physical and social consequences and can lower quality of life. It can cause pain, disability, and premature death.
- Premature heart disease. People with RA are also at a higher risk for developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. To prevent people with RA from developing heart disease, treatment of RA also focuses on reducing heart disease risk factors. For example, doctors will advise patients with RA to stop smoking and lose weight.
- Obesity. People with RA who are obese have an increased risk of developing heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Being obese also increases risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Finally, people with RA who are obese experience fewer benefits from their medical treatment compared with those with RA who are not obese.
- Employment. RA can make work difficult. Adults with RA are less likely to be employed than those who do not have RA. As the disease gets worse, many people with RA find they cannot do as much as they used to. Work loss among people with RA is highest among people whose jobs are physically demanding. Work loss is lower among those in jobs with few physical demands, or in jobs where they have influence over the job pace and activities.
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Where To Buy Lab Grade Products
There are a lot of extremely inferior products on the market. Still worse, many of the cheap herbal supplements found in Amazon.com and on the shelves of local drugstores are not inspected by third party regulators with FDA oversight. The majority are selling weakly concentrated ingredients, and there is growing concern that many products are testing in the danger zone for toxic chemicals and fillers.
Below are two companies that weve tested and found to produce lab grade turmeric and boswellia serrata. Their cost is higher due to the quality of ingredients and their strict self-imposed testing standards. Still, the cost is small compared to prices of pharmaceuticals.
Why Do I Have Ra
What is causing your joint pain? RA is an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders result from your immune system mistaking your normal cells for foreign cells and attacking/destroying them. When your immune system attacks the lining of the membrane surrounding your joints , inflammation occurs. The constant inflammation of the synovium thickens the membrane lining and wears away the cartilage and bone in your joints, causing the physical pain you experience.
The tricky thing about RA is that doctors are still unsure of what the underlying cause is. While genetics seem to be a contributing factor, the baffling mystery is that the majority of people suffering from RA have no family history of it.
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How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Managed
You can manage rheumatoid arthritis by taking medicines as prescribed to treat pain and joint inflammation. You can also help reduce symptoms by exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. Aim to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. This can be at one time or broken up into shorter sessions.
You may also need to make changes at home to help you manage daily tasks like cleaning or gardening. An occupational therapist can help you make adjustments if pain or joint stiffness makes certain tasks hard to complete. They can recommend tools to reduce strain on your joints, such as long-handled dustpans so you dont need to bend over, or book holders to reduce the strain on your hands and wrists.
You might find that rheumatoid arthritis makes you frustrated and upset. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause poor sleep, which can also make you feel down. Discus your feelings with friends and family and explain to them what they can do to support you. This may help you feel better and reassured that help is available, if needed. If you are struggling with a low mood or not managing to sleep, your doctor will be able to support you and work with you to build a plan to help.
How Can I Keep To A Healthy Weight
Keeping to a healthy weight is important for your general health, but it can also have benefits for people with different types of arthritis.
Being overweight can put more strain on your joints particularly those in the legs. The force put through your knees when walking can be two or three times your body weight, so losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference. Being overweight can also increase inflammation in the body, which could cause you more pain.
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Evening Primrose Oil Supplements
Some plant oils may reduce pain and stiffness associated with RA. Evening primrose oil contains an essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid that may provide some relief.
A 2016 study found that taking evening primrose oil and fish oil may reduce inflammation and disease activity.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , however, more research is needed on the effectiveness of primrose oil.
Again, check with your doctor before taking evening primrose oil, as it may interact with some medications. Potential side effects include headache and an upset stomach.
Thunder god vine grows in China and Taiwan and is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Research has indicated that it may be effective for treating RA symptoms.
According to a 2015 study , thunder god vine was comparable to the standard RA drug methotrexate in relieving symptoms. The study found that taking both was even more effective.
A 2018 research review also suggested that thunder god vine supplements may help reduce inflammation. Still, more research is needed on long-term effects and safety.
Talk to your doctor and assess the benefits before trying thunder god vine, as it may have some serious side effects. These can include reduced bone mineral content, infertility, rashes, and hair loss.
Thunder god vine can also be poisonous if it isnt prepared correctly.
Can I Cut Back On My Ra Medications If I Feel Ok
If pain and stiffness start to fade, you may wonder if you can change your medications.
RA is a long-term condition, and medicine keeps your symptoms under control. But with guidance from their doctor, some people may be able to lower the amount of medication they take.
When was your last flare?
Studies show that people who stop their RA medicine are likely to have a flare of symptoms 4 to 8 weeks later. If your disease stays active, you’re more likely to get permanent joint damage.
Your doctor will want to know how long it’s been since you had any problems. Theyâll also do some tests. If everything looks good, your doctor may slowly lower the dose of your medications, usually starting with NSAIDs.
You want to keep a constant and effective level of your RA drugs in your system, so if you are able to cut back on your medicine, it would be a slow change. It helps if you take your medicine at the same time every day.
Do you have any trouble with side effects from your meds?
If so, tell your doctor about them. They may be able to adjust your medicine. For example, many drugs used to treat RA can cause an upset stomach. To help, your doctor may suggest that take it at a different time or with food. They may also recommend medication to ease nausea and help with stomach acid.
Do you use reminders to help you take medicine on time?
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Understanding The Cause Of Your Pain
If you have rheumatoid arthritis and youre reporting an uptick in pain or other symptoms, your rheumatologist will first need to rule out possible co-occurring conditions. Health issues such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, bursitis, or others can commonly occur in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Knowing whether your pain is due to an increase in RA-related inflammation versus a separate health concern will affect whether a medication change should be considered.
Your rheumatologist will likely use one of the following RA disease activity measures to assess your symptoms, pain level, swollen/tender joint count, mental state, and ability performing daily tasks.
- Clinical Disease Activity Index
- Routine Assessment of Patient Index Data 3
- Simple Disease Activity Index
Your doctor will likely also order blood tests to check for inflammation or an increase in disease activity . They may also recommend imaging tests to check for joint damage.
If it has been determined that you have moderate to high disease activity and that inflammation is the root cause of your RA pain your rheumatologist will then have to dig a little deeper:
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